Judge says death penalty an option if St. George man convicted of murder


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ST. GEORGE, Utah — A judge is upholding a ruling that would allow southern Utah prosecutors to seek the death penalty if a man charged with one half of a 2010 double murder is convicted.

The Spectrum of St. George reports (http://bit.ly/1vhWl3m ) that Judge G. Michael Westfall said Thursday that he agreed with a prior magistrate's decision about the 33-year-old Brandon Perry Smith.

Smith is charged with murder in the death of 20-year-old Jerrica Christensen.

Christensen was killed in a December 2010 altercation at a St. George townhome that also left 27-year-old Brandie Sue Dawn Jerden dead.

Another man, 34-year-old Paul Ashton, pleaded guilty in July to killing Jerden in his home. He's been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Smith is awaiting trial.

Information from: The Spectrum, http://www.thespectrum.com

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